Small metal components used in jewelry making are collectively called “findings”. The term itself probably refers to a time when jewelers had to “find” scrap pieces they needed in order to fashion a piece of jewelry [Jewelry Making through History, Rayner Hesse, 2007]
Findings are the jump rings, headpins, crimps, clasps, endcaps and cones, bails, beadcaps, and ear wires that connect the parts and pieces of handcrafted jewelry.
Pinch bails and donut bails transform a drilled stone into a pendant without the need for metal-smithing or wire wrapping. Glue-on bails make it easy to create a pendant or dangle from undrilled stones.
End Caps & Cones
These components serve to embellish and hide the ends of wire and fibers and allow for the attachment of a clasp to a design.
Caps are used to embellish the beads in a design. From simple to ornate, from a tiny enhancement to a bold design statement, caps can set the style.
Our selection of clasps is huge, unique and ever-changing. Every style and every metal is available, from simple magnetic “buttons” to 5-strand gemstone box clasps.
Crimp beads/tubes secure the clasp to the beading wire of strung bracelets and necklaces. Traditional crimps can simply be flattened, but there is a risk of one of the wires slipping out. A more secure way to close a traditional crimp is with a crimping plier, using a 2-step process of flattening and folding.
A “tornado” crimp is a new, twisted tube that secures the wire as reliably as a 2-step crimp, but without the need for a special tool. The twists in the flattened tube prevent the wires from slipping out.
Earring wires come in a variety of shapes, including French hooks, kidney wires, lever backs, posts, ear threaders, and hoops. They also come in a variety of metals, including non-allergenic niobium.
Headpins & Eyepins
Headpins are lengths of wire that have a pre-formed “head” that is typically flat or round in shape. Their function is to keep beads from falling off the wire when creating pendants, earrings, charms and dangles. Eyepins have a pre-formed loop which allows the designer to connect wire links together or to dangle another bead or charm from the loop.
Headpins/eyepins are available in different metals and different gauges. The gauge used depends on the size of the hole in the bead, as well as the size/weight of the bead(s) being added or connected. A small pearl requires a short, fine headpin whereas a large gemstone pendant requires a long, heavy wire.
Open jump rings are used to attach clasps to beading wire or charms to a chain.
Closed jump rings have been soldered for a stronger closure. They are ideal for finishing bracelets and necklaces made with beading wire.
Jump rings for chain maille weaves are sized differently than the jump rings for basic jewelry. Most rings are measured by the outside diameter of the ring. For chain maille, it is the inside diameter [ID] that is the critical measurement.
SWG and AWG are wire gauge systems used to represent the thickness of the wire in jump rings. Different numbering systems are used, depending on the type of metal.
American Wire Gauge System (AWG), sometimes called Brown & Sharpe, is generally used for precious metals [non-ferrous gold-fill, sterling silver and niobium] All the gold-fill, sterling silver and niobium jump rings at Let’s Bead! are measured using AWG.
Standard Wire Gauge (SWG), also called Imperial Wire Gauge or British Standard Gauge is generally used for ferrous [base] metals. All the base metal rings: aluminum, copper, jewelers brass, bronze, enameled copper, and anodized aluminum jump rings at Let’s Bead! are measured using SWG, except 20ga and 22ga base metal rings, which are AWG.
Because gauge systems can be somewhat arbitrary, look at wire measurements instead of gauges so you know exactly what the wire size is.